I have been trying to comment on a response to my response to James Swan of Alpha and Omega Ministries (found here) from Marcus. The post I am responding to is found here. His contentions are in italics.
I think you're missing one of the main premises in my argument, and that is that God creating free agents whom He knows would sin does not somehow cause Him to share in their responsibility for those sins. That seemed to be one of Swan's main points, but I see no reason to impute responsibility of the acts of individual agents to God. The only thing we could say if we were to complain is that God was negligent somehow in creating free creatures even though He knew they would sin. But that, as I say, is just the problem of evil.
Now, to defend my arguments:
The problem is that it does not answer the issues raised in Scripture that we see that God does not just ordain events but also decrees them.
Here is the problem with this argument. You are assuming determinism in this premise itself. What we are trying to determine is whether God is the one decreeing all human actions in the argument between theistic determinism and libertarianism. So to say that the reason I am wrong is because God decrees these sins is begging the question.
In Genesis 50 we find Joseph, whose brothers sold him into the evil of slavery, who lied to their father breaking his heart, claiming Joseph was dead. In front of his brothers, years later Joseph states, "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive." The two statements in Hebrew are in direct parallel. Joseph's brothers meant evil by their actions, but God intended the same actions for good.
According to the Genesis 50 passage, there is no reason to think that God actively caused Joseph's brothers to sin. That seems to implicate God in that He took part in their sin. No, He simply used their sin to accomplish a far greater good, which actually supports my first argument against the POE.
This same principle can be found in Isaiah 10: 5-12, where God uses Assyria as an instrument of judgment on the rebellious people of Israel, and then holds Assyria responsible for her sinful attitude and desires against Israel.
Same for Isaiah 10. God uses the sins that these individual agents contrived through their own powers of deliberation, through their own wills, for His purposes. He did not purpose or decree or make necessary the sins or actions of individuals, but in foreknowing the sin worked them out for His eternal purposes.
The most important example of compatibilism though is Acts 4:27-28. Herod, Pilate, the Gentiles and the Jews all sinfully join forces to crucify Jesus. Yet God's predestined the entire event for his holy purpose.
Same with the Acts 4 passage. God knew that when placed in the situation they were that Pilate and the Pharisees would choose to crucify Jesus. He allowed them to freely act knowing how they would act. He did not cause them to act.
I would argue that its impossible for an unregenerate human being to relate with God. Unregenerate sinner are spiritually dead, remember? Completely unable to obey or even respond to God. All we can do on our own is rebel
The issue isn't whether man in his natural state can do anything to relate to God. Both you and I recognize the need for God's grace because man is totally unable and unwilling to come to Him without His drawing. The issue is whether we can choose to reject this drawing. If we can't, then the entire relationship aspect is called into question. Is a relationship where one side causes the other side to not be able to choose not to be in the relationship a genuine one?
It's interesting to me how people are quick to give us the freedom to reject a relationship with God, yet no thought seems to be given that God could choose who to be in relationship with of God's own free will.
I certainly recognize that it is entirely God's prerogative whom He chooses to show mercy to; whom He chooses to be in a relationship with. I simply believe the scriptures teach that God has purposed to extend His love to all human beings and to allow them to freely come to Him or reject Him.
I think reality may be explained by the the point that God can arbitrarily do whatever God wants at any time.
This contention baffles me, Marcus. If you are correct, then God is the author of sin and He irrationally blames us for the sin He has made necessary. It would contradict the scriptures which indicate that God only does what is good! If this is the case, then how do we differentiate between the works of the devil and the works of God? Indeed, the works of the devil actually are the works of God, since God is the one who decrees and makes necessary the works of the devil, if theistic determinism is true.
My assertion was "He has the right to create free agents, allow them to sin, and hold them responsible for those sins." I don't think He has the right to create people and cause them to sin and then hold them responsible for that sin. That would be totally irrational; a logical contradiction. But God is not irrational and cannot do logically contradictory things.